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Kara Lang talks about the CSA reform and the state of Canadian women’s soccer

Former Canadian Women’s National Team forward Kara Lang talked to Our Game Magazine about the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) reform following the Special General Meeting in Ottawa, which took place Saturday, Feb. 5. The 24-year-old Lang, who recently retired from soccer, also discussed coach Carolina Morace’s surprise announcement that she’s stepping down, the World Cup, and the future of Canadian women’s soccer.

Our Game: For those not familiar with the CSA reform and why a special meeting was held (Saturday), explain it, and was the hearing a result of Coach Morace stepping down?

Kara Lang: “The CSA Reform is in reference to a bill that was passed at the 2010 Annual General Meeting that called for a reform to the existing structure of the CSA Governance. The biggest issue with the current structure is that the board of directors is made up of presidents of provincial soccer associations who are simply not in a position to provide perspectives or cast votes that aren’t fueled by the individual agendas of their provinces. It is a clear conflict of interest that prevents many important decisions from being made because often none of the board members can come to any agreement on what is best for soccer in Canada as a whole. The proposed governance reform is intended to exclude provincial presidents from holding positions on the board in hopes that it will allow for professionals with expertise in various fields to consult and contribute a level of experience and subjectivity that currently is not there. The proposed reform would also see that there would be a minimum of three women on the board (at the moment there is one), as well as one current or former athlete. The Special General Meeting that was held on Saturday was to vote on whether the proposed reform would be implemented. The result was that the reform approved at the 2010 AGM was opposed, the compromised framework proposed to be implemented in 2011 was also voted down, but the third choice – a compromised framework to be implemented in 2012 was approved. We were obviously hoping that the approved 2010 framework would pass, but this is still a step in the right direction. (And) no, this meeting was not called as a result of Carolina’s announcement. However, many of the issues that the team and its staff have had to deal with in the past are a direct result of the inability of the board to make decisions that reflect the best interests of the national teams, so a change to the governance structure can only positively impact the national teams in the long run. Resolving the issue of Carolina’s resignation is a much more immediate concern as the new framework won’t be implemented until 2012.”

Our Game: How long have the players known that Carolina was leaving?

Kara Lang: “They found out when the news broke publicly, but they were aware that she was unhappy and so were not completely blindsided by the news.”

Our Game: How do you think (Morace) stepping down impacts the team, both before and after the World Cup?

Kara Lang: “I don’t think the team will let this affect their performance leading up to or during the World Cup. I’m sure whatever happens, they will make the most of the time they have with Carolina. To look beyond the World Cup at this point would be a mistake anyways. If the issue is not resolved and it comes to the unfortunate circumstances where she is no longer the coach for Olympic qualifying, I think it will definitely impact the team as she would be extremely hard to replace. She has completely revolutionized the women’s program and brought the team to a whole new level”

Our Game: I saw you tweeting (Saturday), morning and you mentioned that they asked you to stop tweeting. Who was asking you to stop, and why would they want to censor you?

Kara Lang: “Members of the executive board asked that we stop tweeting, insisting that it compromised the integrity of the meeting. We simply asked them what they were afraid of, and if there was a by-law stating that we weren’t allowed to make the events of the meeting public knowledge. In my opinion, transparency was the only was to ensure the integrity of the meeting, and in the future I think meetings like that should be streamed live on the internet so that everyone is held accountable.”

Our Game: Canada had an amazing run during Morace’s time with the team and look poised to do so right through the World Cup. (What) was it like playing for her and her staff?

Kara Lang: “I’m extremely grateful for the time I had playing under Carolina and her staff. I learned so much about the game and consider Carolina a mentor off the pitch as well. It was a pleasure to be in camp because she creates an environment within the team that is very much like a close-knit family. This is the closest the team has ever been. The style she encourages on the field is also much more enjoyable to play, which is obvious when you watch the team. It’s clear that they’re having a good time out there. Plus, winning is always fun, too.”

Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer

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